Archive for Books

Book to Movie: Fifty Shades of Grey

Some things are embarrassing to admit.


Reading Fifty Shades of Grey was, for me. I bought it at one point because everyone else was reading it. A while after I got it, a friend of mine began raving about the whole trilogy and ‘how awesome’ it was. She couldn’t stop talking. She wasn’t the most literary person I know, but I have to admit it did pique my interest. I picked it up in secret and began reading it. I also wanted to read it before it became a movie. However, the fact that it was a spinoff of Twilight fan fiction didn’t help matters. I’m not 12, and Bella and Edward don’t fascinate it me as much.

It was quite a quick read. It was summer, and the baby used to sleep a lot more during those days (sigh). There’s a picture of me with a glass of frappe in hand, lying on the couch in our garden in my nightdress, reading the book. I enjoyed it that much.

I thought it was a great fairy tale. A modern Beauty and the Beast, maybe. Poor, not especially beautiful college graduate meets a multimillionaire. Even though she doesn’t do anything fascinating, he falls for her. All she does it be herself. She isn’t impressed with his many riches and perks, but just his pretty face, his major hotness and his very mysterious air. However, there’s a catch. He’s into kinky stuff. Very kinky stuff. He’s not looking for a girlfriend. Oh no. He’s looking for someone who will succumb to his every desire and sign a weird contract. He only wants a sex partner (shock).

There are tons of little things you can say about each and every thing Grey does. Lots of criticisms about the believability of this plot line. But that’s not what this reads like. It’s actually quite sweet at times. I especially love all the bits leading up to their first kiss. The photo shoot. The coffee shop. The elevator scene. I know everyone will remember the elevator scene. It might be the best bit in the book. I loved that he kept dazzling her parents and they just couldn’t see he was actually pretty messed up inside.

I have a confession to make. I actually cried once while reading this book. It was the bit after she goes home after they do kinky stuff and feels guilty about enjoying herself. I felt so sorry for her. What are the chances of a girl like that finding a sadist (was the the technically correct word? I don’t even know. I don’t really care)? I actually had tears in my eyes. I also felt really bad about the ending, but knew it wouldn’t be the end of them. I was right. Duh.

Of course, there are things that bugged me, and I’m sure it bugged a lot of people. The mention of how rich Grey is on every freaking page. Okay, we get it. He’s so rich he has a helicopter. He’s so rich he earns, what, 100.000 dollars a minute (I think?). He’s so rich he has this huge apartment. He’s so rich he’ll buy the company you work for just so your boss will have to answer to him. He’s so rich he’ll dazzle you with beautiful clothes that cost your yearly wage (and he’s so smart he’ll know your size just by looking at you). Also, not only he’s so rich but he’s also very handsome. The waitresses actually stammer when they see him. He’s so handsome he actually did it with an old lady when he was a teenager (yuck).

While we’re on that subject, the Mrs. Robinson bit also didn’t sit well with me. It actually made a lot of sense, he explains it, says that she helped him through a rough time. He says she saved him from himself. She hurt him during sex (or whatever they do when they are together) so he wouldn’t hurt himself. But Anastasia just doesn’t get it. She talks about it consistently through the book, and also the second book.  She’s quite thick at times.

The overuse of ‘Laters, babe’? I know I’m not alone in this. The first one was funny alright, but not the subsequent fifty times (funny, I just said fifty). Also the way he keeps ‘You have to eat, Ana.’ Gawd. I cringed every time I read it. He force-feeds her through the whole book. Just let her be, man. Not everyone can read so much and maintain a gorgeous body like you can.

Oh, the sex scenes. People kept saying it was trash because they had unconventional sex. I wasn’t a major fan, but I didn’t think it was worthy of skipping. They were tastefully done for what it is. I don’t even remember them anymore. However, I agree that they are way too much. Way too often. Every 10 pages there’s explicit content. It gets tiring after a while. If you took out the sex scenes, the book would be 150 pages. I can say the same thing about the flirting. They flirt all the time. The energy kids have nowadays.

I gave the book 4 stars. Because I think it deserved it for what it was- a Twilight fan fiction twist off. I wouldn’t read it again, and I wouldn’t buy it and gift it to friends and family, but it was quite enjoyable. So I was ecstatic when the trailer came out. The trailer looked good. Anastasia looked perfect for the role, and Grey looked alright. I do think I’d prefer Ryan Gosling. I read somewhere that Charlie Hunnam was cast and actually started filming, but had to quit due to scheduling conflicts. That’s quite a bummer. I’ve really liked him in Nicholas Nickleby (I just Googled him, and he has to lose the beard, like, today). But Jamie Dornan looked alright. He was in some TV series I wanted a couple of episodes of, Once Upon a Time, and I kind of remember him.


I couldn’t go see it right away. My 16-year-old cousin did. There were tales of groups of middle-aged women going to see it in the afternoons. The whole theater sighing at key moments. Actual clapping when we see Grey for the first time. At the same time, there was all this talk about it being a horrible movie. It actually got 4.1 stars from IMDB, 1.2 stars lower than Are You Here, the worst movie I’ve seen in 2015 (or this millennium). So I saw it with quite low expectations.

I can see why people dislike it. The main reason, in my opinion, is that the trailer is amazing. You go into it thinking they have done an amazing job transferring the greatness (really, that’s the best word I can come up with?) of the book to the movie. But it doesn’t really work. All the things that bugged me about the book, like the way Grey is rich or the girl is way too naive etc, are multiplied in the movie. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, and all the scenes I remember are from the trailer. And that’s saying something with all the sex scenes that are supposed to be ‘shocking’. However, I don’t think it’s as bad as people crack it up to be. I believe the reason people really dislike it is because the perfect Grey and Anastasia they have pictured in their heads are not the ones they see on the screen. That might be said about a lot of book to movie adaptations, like Harry Potter. But in a story that has so much to do with chemistry, the casting becomes very important. I read somewhere that Clark Gable didn’t want to star as Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind because he said people loved Rhett Butler and he might not meet expectations. In that case, Clark Gable was amazing as Rhett Butler (I’m cheating, I haven’t read the book, but the movie was great). I think Jamie Dornan can say that same thing. Grey was such an unbelievable character that you just don’t buy it when you see him in the flesh.

I don’t really rate movies, but I guess I’d give it something like 5 stars.

I have a footnote to make here. I have read the second book a while later, Fifty Shades Darker. I know second books in trilogies are supposed to be weak, but this was weaker than weak. Also, I heard it’s being made into a movie. I guess the producers got what they wanted, even if it wasn’t many stars in IMDB.

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The New Fan of Fangirl

Yes! I have read the first book of 2016.

Actually, I have read the first half of the book in 2015, so I don’t really know if it counts. So I didn’t include in my challenge. But I have finished it in 2016, so it is officially my first book of the year.


The book is Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. It was published in 2013 and I’ve been hearing about it a lot since then. It’s a new adult book, which basically means that the protagonist goes to college.

The plot is quite simple. Cath, an introvert dreamer, starts college with her twin sister, Wren. Wren is looking forward to the experience. However, Cath is quite nervous and just has one thing in mind: writing her fan fiction for Simon Snow. Simon Snow is Harry Potter in an alternate universe. Their plots of basically the same- magicians, magic, Voldemort-ilke nemesis, Dumbledore-like headmaster. Her fan fiction, Carry on, Simon, is quite famous among Simon Snow fans everywhere. You can think of it as a gay romance between Harry and Ron, if Ron was an evil vampire. She isn’t looking to make any friends, but her roommate, Reagan and her boyfriend, Levi, slowly get under her skin and change her life.

Though it looks like a classic girl-starts-college-meets-people-aand-falls-in-love book, it actually has some deeper themes. Lots of them, really. Fandom, a writer’s creative process, twins, manic depression, abandonment, independence, anxiety, learning disorders (because I think that’s what it is), friendship, being a freshman, and college life in general. It is realistic, as much as a cute fluffy book like this can be.

I quite liked the book. I loved the first half, and I stopped reading it for a while because I didn’t want it to finish. I picked it up later. I didn’t like the second half as much. I thought some things were not properly concluded. For example, how did Cath end ‘Carry On, Simon‘? I can’t help thinking she didn’t provide an answer to this question because she actually wrote a spin-off.

The characters were awesome. Cath, though annoying to others around her, was really fun to read about. You could basically see her growing throughout the book. I can say the exact same thing about Wren. Levi, of course, basically shines. I also adored Reagan. All the characters were perfectly constructed and came alive. It painted a good picture of college life in the States. At least I think so. I haven’t actually been to college in the States, but it sounded believable.

I gave this book 4 stars, because I think the second half wasn’t as good as the first. And because I’m really stingy with my stars. It also made me want to continue rereading Harry Potter. I think this really calls for a sequel, maybe with Wren as the protagonist. Hmmm. Maybe I’ll write a fan fiction about that. Or not.


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Best Books of 2015

As I have mentioned in my previous post about reading in 2015, it wasn’t the best reading year. The best moments I had, related to reading of course, (the best moment ever was having my daughter, which wasn’t in the least comparable to reading) was rereading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I have talked more about this previously.

Still, it wasn’t  a year of reading bad books. I have read quite a few good ones. Today, I’ll talk about my top books. They didn’t make it to my Favorites shelf on Goodreads, unfortunately, but they were the best of the lot I read in 2015. They all got 5 stars on Goodreads from me. I’ll say a few words about each, and might talk about them more later, in another post.


Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

I have read Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins the year before. I enjoyed it, as far as young adults books go. I tend to dislike young adult books more often than not (though I keep reading them), but that one was really good. I didn’t rush to read the other books she wrote, though.

I started reading this on a long car ride to Istanbul. I was hooked. It’s about a girl named Lola, who loves wearing costumes. She has two gay fathers, and a rocker boyfriend. One day, the family who used to live next door moves back in. She’s devastated because Cricket (the name though) has done something before he moved out the last time and she’s not really over that yet.

This is a really entertaining read, with vibrant characters. I enjoyed it more than Anna and the French Kiss, even though popular opinion is to the contrary. I also think this would make a good gift, since it’s really easy to love.


How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer

This is the only short story collection I read in 2015. It was highly recommended by Mercedes, from Mercy’s Bookish Musings in YouTube. I decided to give it a read as well.

This collection includes 9 stories that all star young girls of varying ages. They are all very different, and it deals with a wide variety of serious issues including drug use, obesity, cancer, bullying and death. I think it is a very powerful and beautifully written book. It’s not for everyone, but I think most people would think it’s pretty good.


I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

I am by no means alone when I say this is a wonderful book. It is about a girl Cassandra who lives in an old castle with her eccentric family on the brink of poverty. One day their new landlords drop by to change their lives forever.

This is a beloved book of many, so I think it suffices to say that I think it’s worth the hype. Lovable and quirky characters, beautiful writing, quite decent plot. Really enjoyable to read. I think this would also make a safe gift.


A Strangeness in My Mind by Orhan Pamuk

The latest book by Orhan Pamuk, also considered one of his most approachable, is about a boza seller called Mevlut who witnesses the changes in the city of Istanbul through four decades. It seems like a simple story about the life and loves of a street vendor, but it’s actually the story of Istanbul as it changes through the years.

This is the only book I have read by Orhan Pamuk. I have included the picture of the Turkish version, which is the one I read. It is translated to English now. I don’t know how good the translation is, but since he’s a Nobel Prize winner, I’d think it would be well done. I happen to think it’s excellent, though a lot of people beg to differ. It’s quite an easy read, unlike the other works by the same author.

I’ll probably do separate reviews for these books at some point. They all warrant their own blog posts with in-depth discussion. But for now, here are the other books I gave 5 stars to on Goodreads. Here they are:

  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han: Franky, I was embarrassed to include this in my top books. But I found it fascinating, young adult at its best. It’s about a girl called Lara Jean who writes love letters to her crushes as closure, and one day they get sent out. It’s very well written, and Lara Jean is such a sweet character, though you can’t help getting annoyed with her at some points. You’ll love the love interest. It’s quite surprising, which is something quite rare in young adult books. I can’t wait to read the sequel, and I hate that it left on a cliffhanger.
  • Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson: I do love a good road trip book. This is such. Amy has recently lost her father and she’s also moving across the country. Her mother arranges for a family friend’s son, Roger, to drive with her. It’s really entertaining, like most road trip books are. I don’t think it’s as good as Saving June by Hannah Harrington but I quite enjoyed it.
  • Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg: I really like books that are set in the South. It is told by Evelyn, who’s in a nursing home. She talks about the people who run the Whistle Stop Cafe, and people who are somehow tied there. The plot is thick, and there are secrets abound. It’s very good. I’ve seen the movie years ago, and I remember liking that as well.
  • City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments 3) by Cassandra Clare: I loved how things got solved. This was written as the conclusion, however things somehow continued on to three more books. It reads like a final book of a trilogy, and a very well written one. I like this world by Cassandra Clare, the Shadowhunters and their Voldemort-like bad guy, Valentine. I think the TV series is coming this month, so I really have to hurry up and finish the whole series.

This is it for my 2015 favorite reads. An honorable mention goes to Cross Stitch (Outlander 1) by Diana Gabaldon. I really enjoyed it, but I had to give it 4 stars because it was so thick.


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Reading in 2015

I looked at my 2015 list in Goodreads and it turns out I have read a total of 52 books this year. I think that’s really good, since I had a lot less time to read this year. Here are some stats:

  • 11 of them were in Turkish. (2 of these were translations)
  • 7 of them were nonfiction. (3 of these were baby related)
  • 10 of them were young adult.
  • 3 of them were rereads. I decided to read the Harry Potter Series and watch the movies afterwards. I’m also rereading the Princess Diaries which I have never finished anyways.
  • 11 of them were part of a series.
  • 3 of them were kids-lit. Or middle grade. I never know what to call these, since I rarely read these.
  • I have finished one series- Divergent by Veronica Roth.
  • 8 of them I found really dismal.

I have to say this wasn’t the best reading year for me. I enjoyed some of them quite a lot, and I will write about them soon, but none of them were what I’d call ‘the best book I ever read’. I have now seen that I have read so little nonfiction. I love nonfiction. I don’t know why I haven’t read much.


I think the best part of my year was rereading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. It was so enjoyable, like coming home again. Visiting somewhere you love. Seeing people you’ve missed. It was the best reading experience of 2015, by far. I’m so glad I decided to reread the series. It’s been years since I read them. I never reread them, since I’m not a big rereader, but now I see why people keep reading these. I’ve missed Dumbledore immensely. He’s my favorite character, in any book I’ve read so far. I think he might be perfection. What’s interesting is that I started reading it, and on the same day, I found out about the illustrated version. It had come out on that day. I didn’t get it yet. I don’t know if they’ll continue on doing the whole series, but if they do, I’d love to buy them as a set for my daughter, Selin. However, I’d prefer if she read a non-illustrated version first, just use her imagination first.

Anyway. That’s all I read in 2015. I’ll do more in depth blog posts about my favorites, the ones that I really enjoyed and the ones I really didn’t.

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Revamping the Blog

I have always thought of myself as a decent writer. Not of books or something substantial like that, but I can put words together to make sentences or even paragraphs. But it turns out I’m a horrible blog writer. Since it seems like I write a blog post a year. And it turns out I skipped last year, so the last entry dates back 2 years. Wow. I was fairly busy for the last year, being pregnant and having a baby and all, but still, I could take half an hour a year to write my annual blog entry. But oh well. No use of crying over that now.

This year, when I was making my resolutions (to be kept, for sure) I wanted to include the blog as well. I thought to myself: ‘What do I like?’ or more like, ‘What can I talk about?’. I like watching YouTube videos and reading blog posts about 1) Books 2) Cooking 3) Makeup. I guess I can try talking about these subjects. I’m not a very imaginative cook, I like following recipes exactly, so this blog is not fated to be the food blog of the year. But we’ll see how it goes. I will try writing more about any subject that interests me.


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2013 in Books and New Year’s Resolutions

The year 2013 has been a good year reading-wise, even though not writing-wise since I just realized that the only entry I have in this blog for the year 2013 dates back to 4th of January. This post is a lot like that one, except that I’ll do a general overview of my year with less detail and talk about my resolutions for 2014.

In 2013, I have read a total of 51 books. That means I have exceeded my goal of 50 books, which was about a book per week. Only two of them are novellas that were purchased on Kindle, but other than that, they are full sized books. Here are the other statistics:

– 7 of them were Turkish books.

– 5 of them were self-help.

– 1 of them was an autobiography.

– 1 of them was travel writing.

– 22 of them were young adult books. 11 of those were part of a series. 2 of those were novellas.

– The rest of the books were a mixture of other genres, all fiction. I’m not really good at identifying the genres. There were some classics, fantasy and romance.

I have to say that I’m a little bit embarrassed about these statistics. There are changes to be made for 2014. But before I get to my reading resolutions, here comes my top 8 favorite books of the year, in no particular order. I know 8 is a weird number, but I just couldn’t bring myself to choose more and say that I enjoyed it a lot. So here it goes.

1. Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin

2. Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

3. Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

4. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

5. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

6. Saving June by Hannah Harrington

7. Hokkaido Highway Blues by Will Ferguson

8. The City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

I’m kind of relieved to realize that only 3 young adult books made it to my Top 8. But I’m also kind of ashamed that I have The Book Thief and Gone Girl there, since they are insanely popular and I always hate myself when I love ultra popular books. I know it’s insane to think this way, since they are popular for a reason.

I also wanted to compile a list of my least favorite books, but I realized that I drop a book I don’t like as soon as possible. I don’t torture myself by trying to read books I don’t enjoy. Here is a list of the books I dropped:

Perfect on Paper by Maria Murnane: I wouldn’t go near this. There are really bad jokes, and just the sheer idiocy of the main character made me want to break my Kindle. It’s like a really bad rip off of Sophie Kinsella books.

Dark Prince by Christine Feehan: I dug this book out from my college stash, after reading amazing things about it. I don’t want to say too many bad things since I barely got through 50 pages, but it was not for me.

Taking Chances by Molly McAdams: This book represents a turning point in my life: no more buying inexpensive Kindle books based on Goodreads recommendations. I’m way too old for this nonsense of a book, it’s juvenile in a really, really bad way.

The Boy Who Sneaks in My Bedroom Window by Kirsty Moseley: What I said about the previous book goes for this one as well. Although I thought this one was a lot worse. It’s the story of an idiot girl who’s put into overly sexual situations. It’s so bad I don’t even want to think about it.

And now for my 2013 Reading Resolutions:

– My goal for this year is 45 books. I kept the number lower than 2013 because I want to concentrate on reading thicker and better books instead of breezing through numerous young adult ones.

– I will read more adult books.

– I will read more non-fiction books.

– I will read more Turkish books.

– I will try to reread some of my favorite books, and also possibly start reading Harry Potter series.

I guess this is it! Happy 2014 everybody!

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The Colorless Queen

One of my current obsessions is make up, and this obsession requires the viewing of certain YouTube channels. These so-called “beauty gurus” usually have a side channel where viewers can watch videos about other things. One of the more famous girls, Elle Fowler, does something called Glitteratures, in which she reviews books. And in one of these videos, she reviewed The White Queen by Philippa Gregory. Since I really trust her views on under eye concealer, I thought that her choice of books might be accurate as well. Also, I haven’t been living under a rock, I did hear of Philippa Gregory, so I decided that this new series could be where I started.

This book is the first book of the Cousins’ War series. They are set a bit before the glorious days of Tudors Philippa Gregory is known for, in the 15th century. This particular book is about Elizabeth Woodville. She married King Edward IV, and the book starts with the moment she decides to seduce and marry him. She is a widower with two kids, and she’s actually older than the king, but she still manages it. She mothers lots of kids (I lost count) and two of those are the famous “Princes in the Tower”, which basically means that these two princes vanished one day from the Tower of London and no one knows what happened to them.

Elizabeth is a clever woman, and so is her mother, Jacquetta. Actually she has her own book out, The Lady of Rivers, which is actually set before this one. And the other book in the series, The Red Queen, is around the same time as The White Queen, but from the point of view of the other side, Lady Margaret Beaufort. We see a lot of her in this book as well. There’s lots of intrigues and subtle games for the throne. The love they feel for one another and her emotions as a mother and sister are of second importance, though I don’t think it’s because of lack of talent as a writer. She does her best to portray Elizabeth as a passionate mother and lover, but I just don’t buy it. I don’t feel it, and that’s why sometimes I felt like reading a nonfiction book. The actual war parts were really a drag to get through. At one point, I called it “the book that never ends”, even though it’s not really long. It just goes on and on and on. On the plus side, there’s  a bit of witchcraft. Plus, I do think the lives of the royal make for an interesting read, but I just don’t love this book. I hesitated about the other books, which are quite easy to buy, but I decided to go back to basics and get The Other Boleyn Girl instead.

So, though I believe this is the best thing that could be written about this particular woman’s life, I give it 3 stars, because there are a lot of better books out there. Plus I don’t see Hollywood fighting for its film rights, so there’s no need to rush to the bookstore to get it.

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Dystopian Matching

Apparently, it’s a dystopian world. Everywhere I look, there’s a young adult book that goes on in another world, a dystopian future. I don’t know how long this this has been going on, since I’ve jumped off the young adult fiction wagon with the release of the last Gossip Girl and Princess Diaries books. I haven’t even finished those series yet, even though I have all the books. I saved them, because I loved them so much, but now I’m 26, and it’s kind of late. As I type this, I realize that this is kind of sad, but oh well.

However, no one is too good to read the Hunger Games, so after I read that and enjoyed it, I decided to give Matched by Ally Condie a try. This is the first book of the Matched series. This book is followed by Crossed and Reached (to be released in November).

The idea behind it seemed interesting: that you are matched to the person your genes goes along the best with, and you can only marry him and have kids. The Society, which rule the country through the Officials, decides this match, along with where you work. The Society has destroyed all the cultural heritage, including books, paintings, songs etc. They only kept a 100 paintings and a 100 songs. You cannot create anything either: there’s no writing, no painting, no singing. The saddest of all: there’s no shopping. This just breaks my heart.

Cassia is an ordinary girl in this society, and she’s really happy on her Matching Banquet, which is the day that she’s going to be matched with her match. However, there’s a glitch and when she’s looking at the info chip of her match, another face pops up. This creates a love triangle, and believe me, it’s not simpler when it’s in another world. The beginning drags on quite a bit, while the author tries to paint this world in front of our eyes. There’s nothing ultra romantic about it, she gets closer to both the guys and it’s kind of boring. I almost gave up on it, but then the story picked up after she actually fell in love and really started to question the Society. Another problem for me was that the main male character, at the beginning, was really random. However, he began to pick up after a while.The ending really left me intrigued, so I had to pick up the sequel. Cassia suddenly turned into this other person, who’s brave and romantic. It’s kind of cute.

I give this book 3 stars, because the beginning seriously gets boring. Also because it’s incomparable to the Hunger Games. Although I don’t want to compare too much, since I haven’t read the whole thing in either series. I also strongly believe the Divergent series must be better as well.

You should go check out the website. It includes the funniest trailer.

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I Do Love Beirut

I’ve recently been to Beirut. Beirut is not one of those places I wanted to go to, but an opportunity presented itself, and I said “why not”. I really didn’t know what to expect, because you hear all these stories about the Middle East, but hey, it’s only an hour and a half by plane. So I went there, and I was pleasantly surprised. It’s so amazing. The new Downtown district has been completely rebuilt, and looks as posh (or even posher) as any European city. The restaurants are top notch, the food is better than anything I’ve tasted. The nightlife is enough to satisfy anyone. The people are actually nice, as far from snobbery as can be. All of them speak English (and usually French, too) so communicating is never a problem. I would recommend it to anyone.

Since I have to go to a bookstore in each country I go to and browse every English title, it’s no surprise that I loaded up on books. I read in Time Out Beirut about this book called Beirut, I Love You: A Memoir by Zana El Khalil and I had to give it a read. I finished it yesterday, and I really can’t decide if I like it or not. The writer, Zana El Khalil, is an artist. She lived in Nigeria and USA. She moved to Beirut for college, after the war, as the city was just getting used to peace. It’s sex, party and rock’n roll for the people. How nightlife was a must for everyone, because that’s how people forgot. She talks about September 11, when she actually watched the towers go down in New York, and she actually had to move back after people began to give her the evil eye. She makes some good points, on how American TV series gives us the feeling that our lives are just not cool enough, how everyone has a better living experience in New York etc. How NYC gives people freedom, one that is difficult to find in the Middle East. She talks about the war, of course, and how people began to “get used to it”. It’s heartbreaking.

Since it’s a memoir, she mostly talks about the people in her life. Many, many men in her life, and how dysfunctional each one of them was. Her best friend, Maya, who helped her stick to Beirut in times of difficulty. But mostly, this is a love letter to Beirut. She identifies herself with Beirut on every level. When Beirut is drowning, so is she. She stays in Beirut through thick and thin, though she has a foreign passport, she just can’t bring herself to live.

She uses brilliant imagery, though sometimes it’s disturbing. Mostly it’s describing things. Short dialogues and strange events. But you really get a vivid picture of what’s going on, both in the author’s mind and in Beirut at that time. It helped me get a better insight into what’s happened, though that shouldn’t be the reason you read it, since it won’t be enough on that front. It’s just a different read, something fresh and original.

This is her artwork, and this was her blog during the last war in Beirut.

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Ways of a Time Traveler

It’s been ages since I wrote. But it’s mainly because I was traveling all over the place, and staying for long periods in each. However, it doesn’t mean I didn’t read. It just means I didn’t make time to write about them.Henry & Claire

Anyway. Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger is one of those books I read this summer just because the movie was coming. I had purchased it ages ago, because it was very popular, but I didn’t plan on reading it until they actually shot the movie and it’s always better to read the book before watching the movie.Time Travellers Wife

But as soon as I started reading it, I realized that it was a mistake to have waited that long. The book was really, really good. The plot was remarkably original. It’s about a guy that has a genetic condition that makes him time travel. You soon find that it’s not as cool as it sounds. When we think of time travel, we think of this machine that looks like an elevator, and this guy who has worked on it for ages gets into it and adjusts the time to the day the French Revolution started or something. However, poor Henry in Time Traveler’s Wife doesn’t have it that easy. He doesn’t know when the travel take or place, nor to what time or place he’ll be going. But worst of all, he’s not taking anything with him. That means he can show up anywhere without his clothes. His unfortunate circumstances are good for the reader, who keep reading about funny or plane unfortunate things that happen to him through the book.

However, that’s not what the book is all about, even though it would be a good read still. Claire, Henry’s wife, meets him when she’s 6. He meets her when he’s 28 and she’s 20. They have a nice and definitely non-pedophile relationship as she ages and he keeps showing up near her house naked. He doesn’t tell her what will happen, or when they’ll meet, but they do. And their love story is pretty strong, and sets the tone for the whole book.

Since it was too good a story to miss, they made a movie out of it. I saw it yesterday, and it was pretty good. Of course, they can’t include everything that happens in the book, so they miss some of the more important things that happens. And they made some of the fights more dramatic and Claire behaves a little more different than she does in the book, but that’s understandable. The choices for the actors, Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams is OK, since I never imagined that Henry was Brad Pitt. Their story, since told in short parts in the book, gets to be a little unconnected in the movie, but since I knew the story from the book, it was easy to understand for me, but I don’t know how it will be for others. The scene with the wedding was so funny. Eric Bana is sometimes really good. Time Travelers Wife

The book was really erotic at times, but the movie is really kid-friendly. They have toned down the clubber nature of Henry and the bit with his ex-girlfriend and the things about Gomez. I’d read the book first, then watch the movie as a nice summary of it. Sometimes  you just have to let the pretty people act it out.

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